India, the host of the 2017 U17 World Cup, will be called a sleeping giant until we are under dirt. And in that time it’s very unlikely they ever truly wake up.
There are myriad factors in place contributing to this, of course, but India’s history in FIFA tournaments has been nonexistent. Until now. This looming U17 World Cup tournament, which begins in three months, marks a bit of history for India. It’s the first FIFA tournament the country’s ever hosted, but it’s also the first FIFA tournament any India team has ever participated in. So all the soccer world (or at least the nerdiest portions of it) held its breath Friday to see who’d face India for the first time in a FIFA-sanctioned event.
It is us, as it turns out. And USSF president Sunil Gulati, who was born in India, was on hand to enjoy the moment. And he really enjoyed it.